Delray Beach Housing Authority breaks ground on affordable housing project

DELRAY BEACH, Fla. — The Delray Beach Housing Authority and its partners broke ground Friday morning on new affordable housing.

“This is a great opportunity for at least 60 of our families to be able to call a place home,” Shirley Erazo, Delray Beach Housing Authority president and CEO, said.

Erzao told WPTV the original plan shifted from selling the units to creating affordable rentals. The project will be funded through a mixture of public and private funds.

Erazo said 18 units will be set aside for work force housing for hometown heroes, like first responders and teachers.

It comes at a time when rents in South Florida have skyrocketed, averaging more than $2,800 in June, a 37% increase year-over-year, according to Realtor.com.

“We have families that we currently subsidize that they have a voucher, the ability to rent a unit with subsidy, and they can’t find it,” Erazo said.

Kaan Pala/WPTV

Shirley Erazo, president and CEO of the Delray Beach Housing Authority, says there are families who have the ability to rent with a subsidy but can’t find a place.

The Island Cove apartments are expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2023. But for some families, it’s not only a struggle finding a place to lay their head at night, but also putting food on the table.

Fulvio Palagi, 75, shared his struggles as he picked up a bag of groceries from a Delray Beach nonprofit.

“All of the groceries are very, very expensive,” Palagi said. “It’s very hard to pay for groceries. It goes up so much.”

Like so many, Palagi said inflation and the increasing cost of food has hit his wallet.

Data from the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics shows meats, poultry, fish and eggs increased by 40% in the month of May over the last two years. Dairy is up by 20%.

“I try to look for the deal,” Palagi said.

Fulvio Palagi, 75, goes to Eat Better Live Better for bag of groceries, Aug. 5, 2022.

Kaan Pala/WPTV

Fulvio Palagi, 75, is struggling to afford groceries, so he gets help from Debra Tendrich’s nonprofit Eat Better Live Better.

The inflation is also impacting nonprofits like Debra Tendrich’s Eat Better Live Better, where 300 families, including Palagi’s, will get a bag of groceries.

“Our costs and the amount of families have gone up probably about 30% and it’s on a steady incline,” Tendrich said. “The face of hunger has changed. You know, now it’s the working families and families who are on fixed income, and there’s no wiggle in their income to adjust to these rising costs.”

The Delray Beach Housing Authority is not accepting applications for the Island Cove apartments at this time.

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